Moving on. To figuring out what President Obama is thinking of when it comes to Libya.
After dithering for weeks, and failing to consult with Congress, Presidnet Obama ordered U.S. military forces into action over Libya. The mission, of kinetic action as they liked to call it in the Obama Administration, was ostensibly to establish a no-fly zone. However, its quickly turned into a ground attack mission to support the rebels, even though President Obama will not admit to it.
Today, the Obama Administration announced that as of Saturday, US air combat assets will be withdrawn from Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR (previously known as Operation ODYSSEY DAWN aka bombing-Qaddafi-in-the-hopes-that-he-will-relinquish-power-to-the-rebels-whom-he-has-on-the-ropes-and-will-probably-exterminate-in-order-to-prove-Obama-is-not-indecisive). The reason given? The Obama Administration hopes that our NATO partners will take up the slack.
Why is he doing this? I cannot tell you. There does not appear to be another crisis which poses an imminent threat to our national interests for which the air craft currently deployed to UNIFIED PROTECTOR are needed. If there are, everyone has been strangely silent about it. Yes, there is fighting going on around the world and, yes, the United States military is in the middle of some of it, but its not like we're fending off an invasion of South Korea.
Why do I think he is doing this? The cynical part of me thinks this is one more chance for Obama to try and defy logic and reason while at the same time throwing our allies under the bus. Libya, as evil as Qaddafi is, has not been a vital U.S. interest in years. Most of this has to do with the actions of Reagan and Bush. Why? Reagan's raid in 1986, as well as other actions, showed Qaddafi's impotence at projecting power even to the so-called "Line of Death". Bush, that would be George W. Bush, cut the deal in 2004 which ended the Libyan nuclear program. An even more cyncial part of me believes its because the poll numbers supporting this have dropped off quickly. Great. We're starting wars to support his poll numbers now?
Is he doing this because the mission has been completed? Well, let's take a look. Qaddafi's forces seem to be maintaining the upper hand in the fighting that over the last few weeks. There are reports that the rebel forces are down to maybe 1,000 active fighters, who ill-equipped, ill-disciplined, and lacking in munitions, and it appears that the desert tribes are remaining somewhat loyal to the Qaddafi regime.
So what has President Obama's military action done? Has it ended the threat of a massacre of the rebels and the civilians who passively supported them? No. Its merely put the day of reckoning off a little.
Last week, President Obama said,
To brush aside America's responsibility as a leader and — more profoundly — our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.But apparently every single statement there is a lie. We have a responsibility as a leader because of what the United States is. Yet, with his declaration today, we abdicate, again, our position of leadership in this crisis. We remove from the operation our Navy and Air Force, which has provided the bulk of the combat power, and leave the operation in the hands of a NATO force which is not unified in either purpose or capabilities. The statement released indicated that the U.S. would reconsider the use of combat air craft if the situation became dire enough. So I guess it would mean that President Obama will "wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves" before he continues to take action.
This decision, however, does more than abandon Libyans opposing Qaddafi. Its an action that will embolden other evil-doers who wish to take by force what they are not entitled to have by any other means. Why? Because they see evidence that our nation is unwilling to complete the tasks for which we volunteer. Because they see evidence that our nation will not support the aspirations of people attempting to throw off a tyrannical dictator. Because they see that we are weak.
And when people believe that the world power is weak, that is when dangerous things begin to happen.
So actually, no, I have not figured out why President Obama is doing what he is doing. It makes little sense. He is removing nearly half of the combat strength of UNIFIED PROTECTOR. The largest member of the coalition now is France, with 33 aircraft involved, supported by its carrier. Apparently, President Obama is ignoring the lessons of Rwanda and Srebrenica, both places where the U.S. stayed out of the way, allowing our European allies to act alone without out us.
Apparently, the Obama Doctrine can be summarized as this "The United States will act only in the interest in protecting the reputation of Barack H. Obama and only so long as there is clear support to be found in the poll numbers."
Or am I missing something?